Pork-free vaccine wins cheers from Hajj pilgrims

(RNS) The nearly 3 million Muslims who will make next week’s annual hajj pilgrimage to the sacred Saudi Arabian city of Mecca are required to be vaccinated against meningitis. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis claims to have developed, in 2010, the first anti-meningitis vaccine without pork, which Muslims are forbidden to consume under Islamic law. Many […]

Mormons lower age for missionaries, setting off changes for parents, women, schools

Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lisa Schencker / The Salt Lake Tribune |

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) In a surprising move that promises to transform Mormon social and spiritual dynamics, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lowering the age of full-time missionary service to age 18 for Mormon men (down from 19) and 19 for women (down from 21). By Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lisa Schencker/The Salt Lake Tribune.

On the Jewish New Year, look who’s blowing the Shofar

(RNS) The blowing of the shofar, the ram's horn that rouses the soul on the Jewish New Year, has traditionally been assigned to an august member of a synagogue. But the art of shofar blowing is now for anyone who can manage to get a sound out of the instrument. By Lauren Markoe.

Priest who found love now searches for work

WILMINGTON, N.C. (RNS) With 10 percent unemployment in this corner of North Carolina, the search-for-work story of Gerry Murphy and Andrea Kanelopoulos-Murphy could be a common one. But the couple believe their unique marriage — he's a former Catholic priest — sometimes makes it harder to find the right workplace. By Amanda Greene.